Children entering the Young Preschool class are often taking their first social steps outside of the home. This is a significant transition for a young child. They are coming to a new place with new adults and children and are being asked to embrace the experience. For many children, this can be a stressful and emotionally challenging endeavor. Much of our work with this youngest group is supporting them while they make this step and helping them express and share the emotions they feel through the process.
As they settle into this new experience, we focus on helping them become comfortable around a large group of children. Young children can be unpredictable, which can be confusing and unsettling for children new to a group setting. With 4 teachers and 18 children in the class, there is plenty of adult support as children learn what to do if another child grabs a toy or comes too close, as well as how to navigate wanting a toy someone else is using. Teachers model appropriate behaviors for the children and use descriptive language to narrate what other children are doing. When a conflict arises, teachers offer words as needed that a child can use to communicate successfully with peers. This helps children develop the ability to calmly express that they want something or do not like something that is happening. The core of the curriculum in this class is helping children learn how to be part of a group and communicate effectively and appropriately with peers.
A typical daily schedule is as follows:
8:45 AM Arrival
The children arrive and play inside the classroom.
9:00-10:30 AM Free Play
The children choose between indoor and outdoor activities. There are teacher-led and open-ended tabletop activities set up inside the classroom.
9:45-10:15 AM Snack
A healthy snack is offered at a table with a teacher during Free Play.
10:30-10:50 AM Circle Time
A teacher leads the children in songs, stories, body movement, music, finger plays, and dramatic play.
10:50-11:00 AM Clean Up
Teachers help the children sort and put away the materials so that every child feels that he or she is a contributing member of the school community.
11:00-11:15 AM Tabletop Activities
New activities have been set up for children that require more focus, develop fine motor skills and encourage children to try new cognitive tasks with support.
11:15-11:35 AM Free Play
11:35 AM Last Story
Children gather together to share a story before saying goodbye.
11:45 AM Dismissal